Greek FM: There should be no occupation troops in Cyprus

Greek FM: There should be no occupation troops in Cyprus

 Nicosia, October 26, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Kyriacos Kyriacou

Greece`s Foreign Minister Nicos Kotzias said on Monday that the Cyprus issue is an issue of occupation and violation of international rules and laws and supported the reunification of Cyprus through a federal, bizonal, bicommunal state.

For this to happen, he remarked, “there should be no occupation troops on the island”.

The Greek Minister was speaking during a press conference with his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides after official talks at the Foreign Ministry in Nicosia.

Kotzias told reporters that the Cyprus issue is an “issue of occupation, an issue of the violation of international rules and international law”.

He called for the reunification of the island “in a federal, bizonal, bicommunal republic of Cyprus, where the Turkish Cypriots will have all the goods and the maximum possible rights, and the Greek Cypriots, along with the three minorities here in Cyprus, will feel secure in a stable Republic of Cyprus. And for this to happen, of course the occupation forces must be withdrawn, and my views on the guarantees are well known.”

He also said that talking with the international community, including the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General, Espen Barth Eide, with Europeans and Americans and members of the Security Council, “I must say the general climate is positive with regard to the fundamental issues the Republic of Cyprus is facing – and from the standpoint it sees them”.

The Minister said he and Kasoulides discussed in detail the migration issues, which find Greece in the eye of the storm, as a gateway to the EU. Answering a question on migration, Kotzias said “we cannot have third countries like Greece paying for the choices made by others. We neither wanted nor contributed to nor sought a war in Libya or in Syria. I think it is unfair for countries that did not contribute to causing the migration flows to be the ones mainly paying the cost”.

Kotzias said that Greece cannot but help with the UN camps in Jordan and Lebanon, noting that if they are not getting the material and economic support they need, we are seeing the new phenomenon, with 300,000 people moving right now from those camps in the direction of Greece.

He underlined that instead of debating how much money the EU will spend within its own territory, it should already have made sure – or at least make sure now, at this late date – that there is funding that ensures decent infrastructure, infrastructure for work and education, for the migrants within the Arab world; that is, in Jordan and Libya.

We need, he added, “to be very careful not to allow the destabilization of states like Egypt, behind which is Sudan, in the throes of civil war, and the failing state of Somalia. Consequently, a number of measures need to be taken in the region to avert the perpetuation of a migration problem that is of unmanageable dimensions.

On energy affairs, he said the two Ministers talked about both Cyprus’ energy issues and prospects, such as the energy pipelines and LNG terminals, which are planned to pass through or be built in Greece.

“We had an in-depth discussion of the trilateral partnerships we have with Egypt and with Israel, and examined the possibility of offering such trilateral collaboration with additional states, like Jordan. This model of cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean has won supporters – people and states, that are interested in participating, he remarked.

Welcoming Kotzias, Kasoulides said the traditionally close and reciprocal cooperation was confirmed between the Foreign Ministries of Cyprus and Greece to promote all issues.

He said Kotzias comes at a critical time for Cyprus as the relations between the two countries call for continued exchange of views.

Regarding Turkey`s accession negotiations with the EU and opening new chapters, Kasoulides said that perhaps in 2016 Cyprus will be called to face this issue “therefore for us to make moves on vital national interest issues, Turkey will have to make moves too”.

He also urged those interested to implement this to become creative and offer their assistance in changing Turkey`s position.

Kasoulides also offered Cyprus` support to the ongoing migration issue affecting Greece.

On the energy issues, Kasoulides said that they evaluated progress in the trilateral cooperation with Egypt and the need to promote cooperation with Israel.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island`s northern third.